I recently wrote a post asking people what they are grateful for. Then, I began answering this question myself. Three hours later, what I thought would be precise, turned into 2,000+ words of gratitude and the daily miracles that made me realize my life is perfect the way it is because life is the greatest gift of all. Here’s my gift to you.
I wasn’t going to write this article. And I certainly had no plan to share this with the world. I wrote this for myself. But once I wrote it, I felt compelled to share this with you, so that it has the positive impact on your life the way it did on mine. That is, to stop and reflect on what we are deeply thankful for to help you re-calibrate your values and priorities to focus on what really matters, and the daily miracles right in front of you that we step over and are often taken for granted until they are taken from us.
The Gift of Perspective
Today, I was thankful that that my biggest complaint of the day was the weather and traffic. Seem insignificant? It is. That’s the point and why this holiday, I want to give you one of the greatest gifts of all. Perspective. Perspective is one of our greatest resources to recognize the gifts we already have in our lives, but only if we take the time to keep them in front of our line of vision to stay focused on the magnificence that’s right in front of us, and the things that truly matter. And the end of the year is always a great time to do so, at every level; health, career, relationships, mindfulness, joy, purpose, faith, family and goals achieved.
One of my dear friends was just diagnosed with cancer. 54 years old, three beautiful children, a wonderful wife, and 3-6 months to live. Another friend lost both of her parents this year. And in an instant, another friend’s husband was hit and killed by a car as he was crossing the street. Horrific, unimaginable, devastating, life-changing.
Unfortunately, it often takes traumatic experiences to pull us back into the moment where life happens, rather than being distracted by the insignificant things that we make significant, or constantly living in the future or in the past. Only when we are present can we live in a state of gratitude for what we have. In case you missed this, here were two experiences that reminded me live in a constant state of appreciation and gratitude. The first was about my experience at a funeral, and the other was a traumatic incident with my wife.
Every Blessing Counts
As you read some of the things I’m thankful for and why they make my life perfect, you may think that some of these things are trivial when in fact, they’re just taken for granted. Just ask someone who is blind, or deaf, or does not have the ability to walk, or doesn’t have a home or a bed to sleep in, a job to go to, a family to love, a life without physical or mental health issues, or the ability to exercise without limitations or pain. So, read this with an open mind and an open heart, and you’ll see how blessed you truly are.
To be clear, what you are grateful for today doesn’t mean to stop striving for more, or to bring more success, joy and meaning into your life. The objective of my affirmations below is to strive to achieve more and be a better person, while simultaneously being present in the moment to appreciate the beauty and the gifts that surround all of us that we often take for granted. If we don’t stop to appreciate what is, and we’re continually putting pressure on ourselves to achieve what’s next; that goal in the future – we miss out on today, and today is where your life happens. Here’s how to stay away from wallowing in the recipe of regret and live in a state of now, rather than a state of what’s next, before it’s too late; and life has passed you by.
Now, some of the things that I’m thankful for may resonate with you, other things may not. But if there’s one thing here that will inspire you to reconnect with yourself, others, and what really matters in your life, then I know that I achieved my core objective – for everyone to realize that life is the greatest gift of all.
How to Avoid Living with Regret
So, for the times you were in a position where you felt life was unfair, had an argument with someone you care about, held a grudge, didn’t get that promotion you wanted, lost a customer, got stuck in traffic, missed a flight, paid a contractor to fix a broken pipe or leaky roof, scratched your car, had a bad meal, felt overwhelmed with all of the responsibilities being thrown at you, didn’t meet the investment or income goal you had for the year, weren’t able to go on that vacation, got frustrated with all of the tasks on your to-do list, were disappointed because people weren’t meeting your expectations, or got mad at your kids for being children, making a mess, keeping their bedroom in a state of chaos, leaving the dishes in the sink, or not spending enough family time together, I give you this gift of perspective.
Yes, the things I’m sharing with you are very personal to me. But sometimes to impact others, you have to be vulnerable enough to share who you are, from your heart, and let your authenticity shine. So, here are the 20 things that keep me grounded and realize, that this is it. There’s no practice life or dress rehearsal. All we have is the moment. And when people say to count your blessings, that’s exactly what I’ve done. So, here’s how live and perform like today is the greatest day of your life.
21 Things I’m Grateful For that Make My Life Perfect
1. I’m grateful for my family, how closely connected we are and how genuinely close my children are to each other; as siblings and friends.
2. I’m grateful for my three beautiful, brilliant, remarkable, grounded children who never cease to amaze me with what they accomplish; how giving, compassionate and wise they are beyond their years, who are my greatest teachers, my fountain of gratitude, for the difference they make in the world, and who are my reason for living. They are pure joy, shine brilliantly like the stars, radiate inspiration, love and are always there to support each other and the people in their lives. They make my heart glow with love and pride, and I am in awe of them every day. They make me a better person.
3. I’m grateful for the moments I steal with my three children. And as my children get older, I learned that quality time doesn’t always have to be an event. It could be a conversation at dinner, a ride to grab a quick meal or get a cup of coffee, the sharing of our daily experiences before going to bed, drive time in the car, watching them smile, laugh and interact with each other and with their friends, or just being in the same room with them so I can be in their presence.
4. I’m grateful for my wife and for everything she does every day. For keeping our family together. For taking on the role of Chief Home Officer. Because without her, I wouldn’t be able to do the things I love, personally and professionally. I’m grateful for her unconditional support over the years, through the good and not so good times. For being the caring, giving, beautiful, brilliant, heart-centered, loving wife who keeps me focused on the important things, even the times when she has to smack me back into a state of reality, to be humble and to get out of my own head; an occupational hazard being an author. She breathes life and sunshine into my days and into my heart. She helps me stay true to myself and my priorities. Yes, I am deeply fortunate that the only girl I’d ever want to spend the rest of my life with decided to marry me.
5. I’m grateful for my friends, both new and the ones I’ve known for most of my life; for always having my back, and for the years of fun, craziness and laughter. I’m grateful for them calling me out when I need to be, how well they know me, for being a sounding board, for supporting me and even kicking me when I’m down (and probably needed it anyway). They know me like brothers and keep me humble. After all, that’s what friends are for!
6. I’m grateful for my sister; for her love and being my buddy growing up, for her unconditional support, for being a wonderful aunt, for her understanding, for all the experiences and good times we’ve shared over the years, for having each other’s back, and for being the priority in my life today. I feel blessed to say I love her dearly as a sister, and as a friend – no matter what; always and forever. And I’m grateful for my three fantastic nieces and my nephew, and my loving, giving, supportive parents who complete my beautiful family. I’m grateful for my in-laws for being so selfless, who make me feel like their son and who gave me my greatest gift of all; my wife. I could not ask for anything more than what I’m so thankful to have. If you really want to measure your most significant accomplishments, just look at the people around you who make your life worthwhile. That’s when you know how blessed you are.
7. I’m grateful that my children are surrounded by people they love and still enjoy the cherished time they spend with their grandparents.
8. I’m grateful for love, for being surrounded by the people who enhance my life, and who love me for who I am, so that I never have to be alone or navigate the course of life by myself.
9. I’m grateful for being able to give back to those who are suffering, who have nothing, who are struggling with just getting through each day, who may not know where their next job or meal may come from, whether for themselves or their family, who can easily be the forgotten, and for making them feel they matter, they’re important, and there are people who care about them.
10. I’m grateful for not only having a job and financial security, but a career I’m passionate about that allows me to express who I am; my values, creativity and talents. I’m grateful for my clients, for having the best job in the world, which is helping people create the joy, fulfillment, peace, relationships, health, well-being, financial security and purpose that would enable them to live their ideal life.
11. I’m grateful for my health, for without it, I may not be able to appreciate the things that I’m grateful for today. Great health is the only thing I every pray for because without it, nothing else matters.
12. One of my dear friends is a cancer survivor who has given me the gift of an amplified state of awareness and an even deeper sense of gratitude for how fragile life really is, so that I can maintain my focus on the only three things that we as human beings can control: our actions, reactions and attitude or beliefs. Everything else you think you can control is an illusion.
13. I’m grateful for being able to wake up every day next to my soulmate, and having eyes to look out the window and embrace the gift of another day. I appreciate nature’s masterpiece. The magnificence of a sunrise, a sunset, a rainbow, a blue sky or the fall of winter’s first snow. I’m mindful of the importance of taking the time to stop, even to dance in the rain, so that I can authentically experience the physical, spiritual, emotional and environmental beauty in the world.
14. I’m grateful for the bed I sleep in. I’m grateful for being able to get out of my own bed and walk.
15. I’m grateful for being a U.S. citizen, and for the men and women in the armed forces who protect us and our freedom.
16. I’m grateful for living in a safe neighborhood that has good schools for my children.
17. I’m grateful to have a home to live in, food to eat, a car to drive, water to drink and clothes to wear.
18. I’m grateful for being able to look inward to see, accept and appreciate who I am, what I have, my accomplishments, my shortcomings that I can work on and what makes me unique, authentic and transparent, rather than living with resentment or looking outward and focusing on what others have that I don’t.
19. I’m grateful for the simplicity of life; to want less and be more. To have the ability to disconnect from technology, to look away from the phone or computer, and stay connected to humanity and the people in my life. I’ve been blessed with the awareness of not allowing situations or people to rob me of my personal power. I appreciate this wisdom that comes with age.
20. I’m grateful for living from a place of self-actualization that allows me to honor my values, priorities and personal vision, instead of living from a place of ego.
But beyond being grateful, I feel blessed to have these things in my life and this level of awareness, so that I never take anything or anyone for granted. Embracing the power of acceptance is the secret to achieving peace of mind and living a perfect life; appreciating what is, rather than how you feel it should or could be.
Gratitude Last Forever
My wish for you and for every person in this world is to recognize the gifts, the magnificence and the beauty that surrounds you. Sometimes, the most cherished gifts of all are the most difficult to see, especially when they’re right in front of us. Or, we don’t fully appreciate them until they’re gone. Instead, we continue to strive to acquire more of the superficial possessions, or the things that we don’t have or think we want that would complete us or make us happy but don’t truly fulfill our soul. (Such as, more money, acknowledgment, recognition, a promotion at work, a new toy, car, etc.)
Now that I’ve written this, it’s clear to me, I needed to do this not just for you, but for me. When life gets in the way; the daily challenges, stresses, or responsibilities, it’s easy to get distracted and lose perspective on what really matters. This article is my affirmation of the blessings in my life that keeps me centered every day.
Take Inventory to Create Your Perfect Life Today
Yes, I have much to be thankful for, and so do you. Now, that doesn’t mean they’re won’t be upsets or tragedies in our lives that we must face. But they don’t have to define us. If you take a moment to stop and self-reflect, you will realize you have so much more to be thankful for every day. So, put some time aside and make an inventory list of what you are grateful for. I promise, you’ll be surprised how much longer the list you create actually is. A worthwhile investment of time, for certain. And once you do this, don’t file it away. Make a recurring appointment in your calendar and paste this in the notes section of the appointment to read. Schedule this “Gratitude Reminder” to pop up at least once a week, so it becomes a constant reminder to stay true to your guiding principles and internal compass.
While I know this ran over 2,000 words, I hope this stimulates a deeper state of awareness, peace, joy, purpose and fulfillment for you so that you can to live in the present with intention, appreciation and love to enhance your quality of life. Take this opportunity to reconnect with what really matters, the way my affirmations here did for me, which breathe happiness, purpose, fulfillment and peace into your life.
Finally, I’m grateful for you, my fans, peers, readers and advocates of my work, and for the opportunity to inspire and impact others by giving this gift of awareness and perspective to you so that no one has to live in a state of regret, which can last forever. And while there’s so much more to be thankful for, what I want for you is to maintain the perspective that life is the greatest gift of all. Thank you for allowing me to honor one of my core values, which is to make an impact and contribute to your success. I am truly grateful for the gift you have given me. You. I wish you extreme success, and that includes the recognition of what you have today, and what you will create tomorrow.